A Favourite Word of Our Parents
After playing under the hot sun for a long time, you come home all sweaty and tired, putting away your bats and bicycles, and get all set to grab a bite. Just then, your mom walks in, looks at you, and exclaims, “You look exactly like a ragamuffin!” Doesn’t this scenario sound familiar? Many of us have been called a ‘ragamuffin’ by our parents at some point in time. And when you see yourself in a mirror after being called a “ragamuffin”, you know exactly what your mom was talking about.
A face grimed with dirt, hair sticking up in all the directions, and your stained, ripped clothes after being on the pitch all day makes you realize you indeed look like a “ragamuffin” even if you don’t know its meaning!
What does it Actually Mean?
We know that parents have their own dictionaries of funny words to describe us from time to time. Some terms, even if not used frequently, do fit a particular occasion perfectly. Moreover, they are fun to utter, as well. Coming to “ragamuffin”, the term is generally used for describing a kid who is dirt, had ragged or tattered clothing, and looks unkempt.
You can use other exciting synonyms such as tatterdemalion, vagabond, hobo, or even guttersnipe. All these descriptive words are pretty much self-explanatory. Parents, however, love the ‘ragamuffin’ word as it sounds a tad more sophisticated than the other terms.
The Origin of ‘Ragamuffin’
The origin of the term ‘ragamuffin’ goes back to the late fourteenth century. During this time, the poem titled ‘Piers Plowman’ came up with a demon named ‘Ragamoffyn’. The ‘raga’ in the term has most probably come from “ragge”, the Middle English word which means rag. It makes sense as the word “ragged” was often used to describe the shabby appearance of this demon character in the early days.
There are numerous theories when it comes to the “muffin” in ‘Ragamuffin’. As per some scholars, the word is derived from “muffle”, the Middle Dutch term for the mitten. ‘Ragged mittens’ does go well with what we understand as a ragamuffin today.
Some Other Assumptions
Others credit the origin of “muffin” to “muffe”, the Middle German term for a cupcake. It would fit the Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable’s description: “A muffin is a poor thing of a creature…so that a ragamuffin is a sorry creature in rags.” No matter which theory you believe in, every one of us looks like a ragamuffin whenever we go to the sports field, jog all evening or hit the gym. If you believe in working hard and playing harder, this term should work as a badge of honour for you. Have fun and be proud! (See What is the meaning of the word “fugazy”?)
There are Ragamuffin Cats too!
Here’s some good news for cat lovers- if your mom calls you a ragamuffin, feel proud! There is actually a breed of cats called the Ragamuffin. Once thought of as a type of Ragdoll cat, the ragamuffin breed was established to be a separate domestic cat breed in 1994. These cats are known for their amiable personalities along with thick, rabbit-like fur. Like the Ragdoll cats, the ragamuffin cats are also among the laziest cat breeds and love to stay indoors.
Their bodies are muscular and bulky, and they take around four to five years to reach full maturity. Physically, they have a broad-chested, rectangular body and their shoulders support their small necks. They are categorized as cats with “substantial” body types. Their heads are broad and modified and have a round forehead. They have an obvious nose dip, and their muzzle is usually short or medium-short. Their puffy whisker pads broaden it.
Their body appears to be rectangular, thanks to their broads shoulders and broad chests. Moreover, their hindquarters have moderately heavy muscling and are as broad as their shoulders. You can also expect a fatty pad in their lower abdomens. Their fur length is a little longer towards their necks and outer portions of the face. It results in the appearance of ruffs on their faces. These cuddly creatures have a silky, soft, and dense texture, and they come in a variety of colours and patterns. Usually, their eyes come in solid colours; some of them also exhibit heterochromia.